NY picks UR Medicine lab to help identify COVID variants

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— A state effort to help identify COVID variants will partially have a home in Rochester.

The New York State Department of Health Tuesday announced the University of Rochester Medical Center’s UR Medicine Central Laboratory was selected among five labs across the state to take part in the effort.

The DOH says the partnership will help boost efforts to closely look at the genetic build-up of the virus that causes COVID-19. The state says data collected from the partnership will help the state better understand the variants, and how one may work with, or against a vaccine, or other treatment.

The 7-day average positivity rate for Monroe County reached 2.0% as of Monday, specialists have pointed to slowed vaccination rates, and the rapidly spreading delta variant as a reason for the spike.

Labs in Buffalo, Ithaca, and Syracuse are also included.

The DOH received approval from the CDC to use $20 million to back the deal.